Managing the Online Course

Expectations for Online Instructors Section

  • Be responsive, reliable and helpful week in and week out.
  • Respond to queries as soon as possible never leaving the students waiting for a reply.
  • Share explanations that are clear and encouraging.
  • Break down complex material into plain English.
  • Use a blend of videos and animations where needed.
  • Grade homework, quizzes and exams predictably and post results promptly.

Weekly Routines Section

The guide below is an adaptation of the guide maintained by the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute. Please see their Managing Your Online Class page for additional suggestions and tips.


  • Interact in course discussion forums
  • Respond to course email
  • Grade assignments


  • Introduce topics and post weekly announcements
  • Summarize the topics presented that week and the discussion forum conversations in the announcements
  • Update course schedule
  • Hold 'office hours' (find a way to connect effectively with students that have questions)

What to do... Section

  • Read past evaluations (SRTE's, mid-course surveys, Canvas analytics or other data if available).
  • Copy your Canvas course to the new semester space ( Settings > Import Course Content)
  • Please keep the name of the course as the ID set it. This keeps consistency across the program for our students. To make your course list manageable and in a certain order use Canvas course nicknames that appear only to you. View the directions for setting a nickname: How to nickname a course from NU
  • Review and revise course materials
  • Merge course sections if needed
  • Set up your Canvas gradebook (use the assignments page to set the weights for each category of assignments, i.e., homework, quizzes, project, exams)
  • Update/create your syllabus (See the Required and Recommended Syllabus Topics for examples and required sections)
  • Update/Create your course schedule
  • Review proctor information and procedures (if the course used proctored exams)
    • Are links to to the Examity dashboard in place so that students can create a profile and schedule their exams?
    • Are the exam shells created in Canvas?
    • Are the exam rules posted in Examity?
    • Are the correct passwords for exams in place in Examity?
  • If your course is assigned a grader or TA, connect with them early to establish a regular communication plan, turn-around time frames for work and other general guidelines for working together.
  • Create an instructor introduction video. Using Zoom, Kaltura or some other screen casting software to create a video personalized to you.
  • Hide unwanted materials
  • Provide a link to the Orientation for Learning Online
  • Publish the course in Canvas
    • (click the 'Publish Course' link)
  • Post welcome announcement by the first day.
    • Before the first day of classes is always appreciated!
    • Describe the map or flow of the online course, review the course schedule.
    • Emphasize the importance of reading the syllabus.
    • State that the syllabus is a contract.
    • Remind students about the textbook and any required software.
    • Review the grading criteria for assignments.
    • Remind students about links to technical support.
    • Consider conducting a quiz over the syllabus or ask students if there are any questions about the syllabus.
  • Share a personal introduction in an announcement
    • Let your students know who you are!
    • Include professional biography information and perhaps personal pieces (if desired).
  • Summarize course postings - be sure to review
    • Course goals and objectives - what students will learn and why this is important.
    • Course expectations - cohort based, paced instruction.
  • Review and respond to student intros
  • Contact 'no shows' early via Canvas inbox and possibly Starfish.
  • Model and showcase active participation
  • Make sure all students 'get into the routine.' Provide them with a recommended order and spacing of assignments throughout the week.
  • Have Students create an Examity Profile (for proctored exams) and encourage them to schedule the Examity practice exam if they are new to the process.
  • Gather student feedback (Mid-Course survey)
  • Determine if the results should result in any changes in the course
  • Post wrap-up announcement
  • Encourage completion of the SRTE
  • Post final grades
    • (LionPath)
  • Complete the instructor satisfaction survey

Checklist Section

Download this checklist in a Word document: